Bacon Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Bacon annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Bacon gets its unique flavor from pork, salt, fat, and sometimes added sugar. The meat is a popular choice and favorite because of its unbeatable taste.

Bacon comes from the pig’s belly, is salt-cured, and often smoked before reaching grocery store shelves. 

Most of the fat melts off when you cook and drain it by putting cooked bacon on a plate stacked with a few paper towels. Nitrates and nitrites are added to improve the shelf-life and appearance. 

Bacon in the U.K. and Canada is sometimes different than in the U.S. Their bacon is taken from the back of the pig, making it taste more similar to ham.

Bacon Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided for 3 slices (34.5 grams) of bacon, according to the USDA.

  • Calories: 161
  • Fat: 12g
  • Sodium: 579mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0.6g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 12g


Bacon contains 0.6 grams of carbs. Although bacon has no sugar, some brands add it for extra flavor. For example, bacon labeled as brown sugar or maple often has that added to it, which adds sugar content. There is no fiber in bacon.


The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 recommends limiting your saturated fat intake to less than 10% of your calories. However, they don't specify a limit on total fat.

For someone who eats 2,000 calories a day, 200 of those calories should be saturated fats for a total of 22 grams of saturated fats. The AHA recommends just 13 grams of saturated fat for a 2,000-calorie diet, making it more challenging with a serving of bacon.


Bacon is high in protein with 12 grams per serving. Approximately 10% to 35% of your total daily calories should come from protein. That's 46 to 56 grams of protein a day.

Vitamins and Minerals

Your potassium intake should be 2,600 milligrams and 3,400, and one serving of bacon provides 172 milligrams. Most adults don't get enough potassium, and it's listed as a public health concern in the 2020 to 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Potassium is a mineral necessary for nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and heart and kidney function. Not getting enough potassium can cause high blood pressure, increase the risk of kidney stones, and diminish calcium in your bones.

Bacon also provides a good amount of B vitamins, including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12. You will also get 17 micrograms of selenium, about one-third of your daily recommended intake. Bacon is also high in phosphorous, providing 134 micrograms per serving.

Selenium is vital for thyroid gland function, reproduction, and protection from cell damage from free radicals. Phosphorous is essential for bone health, making energy, and chemical processes.


Three slices of bacon, or 34.5 grams, contain 161 calories. That one serving has 108 calories from fat, 2.4 from carbs, and 48 from protein.

Health Benefits

Because bacon is high in protein and low in carbs, it is a popular choice for those following a keto diet plan. It also may help absorb vitamin D and helps boost energy. Here is a closer look at the potential benefits of bacon.

May Boost Energy

Bacon provides six of the eight B vitamins vital for brain and energy function. Getting enough B vitamins in your diet is crucial for preventing a vitamin B deficiency.

Bacon is also a good dietary fat source, promoting satiety and providing energy. Most of the fat content in bacon is monounsaturated, which contains heart-healthy oleic acid.

May Improve Vitamin D Absorption

A 2014 study found that those who ate a meal with 30% of the calories from fat significantly increased how much vitamin D they absorbed. Those who had fat with their meal absorbed 32% more vitamin D than those who had a meal without fat.

Plus, the fat in bacon may promote satiety. Research indicates that when a consumer finds a food tasty, it can make a meal more satisfying and may aid in weight management. So, if you particularly enjoy bacon, you may find that eating a small amount helps you to feel satiated.

Watch The Sodium

One serving of bacon is not high in calories but is high in sodium. The recommended amount of sodium per day is 2,300 milligrams. However, the American Heart Association (AHA) advises most adults to strive for an ideal goal of 1,500 milligrams a day. One serving of bacon puts you a third of the way there when working toward this goal.


Although bacon allergies are uncommon, they can still occur. As with any other type of meat allergy, a bacon allergy can develop during any stage of life.

If you have a bacon allergy, it could be related to alpha-gal syndrome (AGS), also called alpha-gal allergy or tick-bit meat allergy. AGS is a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Typically, symptoms occur after people eat meat or are exposed to other alpha-gal products.

Symptoms of a bacon allergy may include hives, rash, stomach cramps, sneezing, headaches, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. In rare cases, anaphylaxis may occur, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction requiring emergency medical treatment.

The nitrates and nitrites used to preserve bacon may also cause an allergic response. Although rare, symptoms can include headaches and hives.

Adverse Effects

Even if you do not have an allergy to nitrates or nitrites, it is possible to react to them during later pregnancy. This is due to the accumulation of a substance in blood known as methemoglobin which interacts with the preservative, causing nausea and stomach upset.

Additionally, if you are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), which are sometimes used to treat depression, you will need to limit your intake of bacon and other foods high in tyramine. Other high-tyramine foods include cheese, processed fish and meat, beans, beer, and fermented foods.

Overconsumption could cause your blood vessels to narrow, possibly leading to critically high blood pressure. Additionally, a potentially dangerous spike in blood pressure, known as malignant hypertension, could occur.

Speak with a healthcare provider if you experience unusual symptoms after eating bacon. You should also share the product label with the ingredient list and nutritional information during your appointment.


There are various styles of bacon, including thickness, added flavors, and types. For instance, you can find maple, double-smocked, thick-cut, low-sodium, or unsmoked varieties.

In the United States, bacon is taken from the belly of the pig and contains a substantial amount of fat. In the United Kingdom, bacon can be taken from the back and is cut thicker with less fat content.

Canadian bacon is also a less fatty option with higher protein content. One pan-fried slice of Canadian bacon (13.8g) contains 84 calories, 4g of protein, 0.2g of carb, and 0.4g of fat. It also includes 137mg of sodium.

Turkey bacon is another option often found in grocery stores. It usually contains less fat than pork bacon. One slice of cooked turkey bacon (8.1g) has 30 calories, 2.4g of protein, 2.1g of fat, and 0.3g of carbs with 164mg of sodium.

Plant-based bacon varieties can also be found at some grocery stores. Check the label to see how plant-based bacon compares, and keep in mind that it is still a highly processed food item that may not be healthier than other types of bacon. The nutritional content will vary based on what it is made from. It makes a suitable stand-in if you are on a plant-based diet.

Storage and Food Safety

The best way to store bacon is unopened and in the fridge for seven days or in the freezer for up to four months. Leftover cooked bacon can be refrigerated for 4 to 5 days or frozen for one month. It is difficult to determine the temperature of bacon while cooking; cooking until crisp should be a safe temperature.

How to Prepare

Bacon is most often fried in a frying pan, but you can also microwave it, bake it in the oven, or use an air fryer to cook it. After cooking, drain bacon on some paper towel to remove excess oil. You can save the oil for cooking if desired.

Bacon is delicious on a breakfast plate with eggs, but it's also useful as a garnish and topping for foods like baked potato, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, pizza, and more.

18 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. USDA, FoodData Central. Bacon.

  2. USDA. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025.

  3. American Heart Association. Saturated Fat.

  4. Office of dietary supplements. Potassium.

  5. Office of Dietary Supplements. Selenium.

  6. Office of Dietary Supplements. Phosphorous.

  7. Kennedy DO. B vitamins and the brain: mechanisms, dose and efficacy—a review. Nutrients. 2016;8(2):68. doi:10.3390/nu8020068

  8. Dawson-Hughes B, Harris SS, Lichtenstein AH, Dolnikowski G, Palermo NJ, Rasmussen H. Dietary fat increases vitamin d-3 absorption. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015;115(2):225-230. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2014.09.014

  9. Hetherington MM, Cunningham K, Dye L, Gibson EL, Gregersen NT, Halford JC, Lawton CL, Lluch A, Mela DJ, Van Trijp HC. Potential benefits of satiety to the consumer: scientific considerationsNutr Res Rev. 2013 Jun;26(1):22-38. doi:10.1017/S0954422413000012 PMID:23680169

  10. American Heart Association. How much sodium should I eat per day?

  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alpha-gal syndrome.

  12. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Meat allergies.

  13. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Adverse reactions to food additives.

  14. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Nitrate/Nitrite Toxicity: Who is at most risk of adverse health effects from overexposure to nitrates and nitrites?

  15. Burns C, Kidron A. Biochemistry, tyramine. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.

  16. USDA. FoodData Central. Canadian bacon, cooked, pan-fried.

  17. USDA FoodData Central. Bacon, turkey, microwaved.

  18. USDA. Bacon and food safety.

Additional Reading